Small watercraft users now able to use emergency locator beacons

Sailors, Kayakers and jet skiers will now be able to use emergency locator beacons instead of an Emergency Position Indicating Rescue Beacons (EPIRB) when they hit the water.

Emergency locator beacons have been a popular choice for bush walkers and outback travelers, now they’ll be out on our waterways.

Acting Main Roads and Ports Minister, Steven Miles, said the advances in technology meant operators of smaller craft can use emergency locator beacons without compromising their safety.


“We will now allow these beacons as acceptable safety equipment on lightweight craft such as personal watercraft such as jetskis, canoes, kayaks and sailboats under six metres,” Mr Miles said.

“Current regulations require Queensland regulated ships to carry an EPIRB when operating outside of the declared smooth or partially smooth waters or other waters more than two nautical miles from land.”

Under previous regulations, an EPIRB was required for smaller watercraft but people often had difficulty finding a place to store the device.

There were also concerns if someone fell from their craft the vessel carrying the EPIRB could drift away from them.

Under the current regulations, the requirement to carry an EPIRB does not allow for a personal locator beacon to be used as a substitution.

Maritime Safety Queensland will now issue an exemption from the current legislation to allow the wearing of a personal locator beacon by users of small boats, kayaks and Jet skis where a standard EPIRB is required.